Gas-porting of pistons has been common practice for a long time. Designed to increase ring seal by harnessing the very pressures that the piston rings are fighting, it has become a time-tested and thoroughly proven form to increase ring seal. Now, Total Seal Piston Rings has developed a way to incorporate the benefits of gas porting into the top ring itself.
“A gas-ported piston ring is a tool, especially in some classes where you aren’t allowed to run a gas-ported piston, this is a way to have gas ports,” says Total Seal’s newest addition, Lake Speed Jr. “Also, if you already have set of pistons that aren’t gas-ported, these will give you the benefits of gas ports.”
The ability to garner the benefits of gas ports in a class that doesn’t allow holes in the piston is a huge advantage. In actuality, we have a feeling this might have been going on behind the scenes for a while now. However, even if you aren’t trying to live in the gray area, the gas-ported rings offer benefits over actual gas ports in the piston itself.
“When in use, the ring rotates around the piston, which makes it self-cleaning,” explains Speed. “That’s one thing that comes up with gas ports in the pistons. The ports can foul with carbon, reducing their effectiveness over time. Since the ring is moving all the time, it’s staying clean. This also allows for the top-ring groove to be higher, which reduces crevice volume, and you can run a thicker ring land. A thicker land is a stronger land.”
For those who might think this is a race-specific tool, that couldn’t be further from the truth. The gas-ported top ring is advantageous across the board. “This is actually an ideal ring for a mixed-use street and track car,” says Speed. “You can run it in a pump-gas engine, and race engine equally well. The AP steel provides a very durable ring, and with the ring’s coating, you get a huge friction reduction.”
Speed says gas-ported rings are an available option on any of the lines of top rings in Total Seal’s catalog, with ring thickness being the ultimate limiting factor. “The gas-ported piston ring is available down to a 0.7mm-thick ring, so pretty much any top ring we make, in almost any bore size. From as small as a 2.5-inch bore, up to a 5.5 or 6.0-inch bore, we can do that.”
Speed also points out this technology isn’t the end-all, be-all of piston-ring technology, but merely another option for the market. “This is another tool in the engine builder’s toolbox to be able to unlock the power potential in piston rings,” he concludes.